Monday, May 13, 2013

Big Crumb Coffee Cake

The first thing I need to do is apologize for disappearing these past couple of weeks. Things have been pretty busy around here, between school and the warmer weather and a few special projects we've been working on.

But I'm super excited to share this post with you.

When I received my Secret Recipe Club assignment for this month, I was super excited. After last month's reveal, there were a few blogs that really caught my attention, one of them being Smells Like Brownies. Melissa's blog is deliciously inspiring, well written and, well, she has an adorable little baby boy. So imagine my excitement when her blog appeared in my inbox as my assignment!

There were so many recipes I wanted to try. The first one that spoke to me was for black bean burgers, but I worried that the kids might not like them. Kids can be weird that way. Then I thought that maybe I'd try this butternut squash galette - it looks amazingly delicious. Then again, so did all her other posts!  So what I wound up doing was opening many (many) tabs on my browser with the recipes that were speaking most loudly to me and letting daddy choose.

I wasn't overly shocked with his choice. He chose the big crumb coffee cake. Yay!

This cake was very straightforward to prepare, but did use quite a few

For starters, the recipe calls for cake flour, which is one of the few flours I don't actually keep on hand. But only because there is a super simple substitute for it - for each half cup of cake flour called for, measure out a half cup of all purpose flour, then scoop out one tablespoon of the flour and replace it with one tablespoon of  cornstarch.

So to start, I needed one bowl to make my cake flour.

Next it was time to prepare the crumb topping mixture.  It starts with a mixture of sugars and spices... which melted butter is mixed in.

Then mix in some of the pastry flour (or have a little helper do it for you...)...

...and set it aside.

The next bowl is for the wet ingredients for the cake batter.  I did make one change here - the recipe calls for sour cream, which I didn't have on hand, so I substituted Greek-style coconut-milk yogurt.

Then, in the bowl of my stand mixer, I combined the dry ingredients, to which softened butter was mixed in, along with a bit of the pre-mixed wet ingredients.

The actual mixing here is very quick - the prepared wet ingredients are added in three stages, then mixed for 20-30 seconds at a time, and that is it!  The resulting batter is very thick and lovely.

Once the batter is spread in the pan, it's time to add the crumbles.  The prepared crumb mixture, as it site, actually hardens a little bit, which makes it easy to, literally, crumble on top of the batter.

And then the whole thing bakes. And smells heavenly. And make everyone very, very hungry.

And then it comes out of the oven and looks beautiful and makes everyone even more hungry.

Not to mention annoyed when I tell them that they have to wait until breakfast the next morning to taste it.

But it was worth the wait. The topping was crunchy and very sweet, but the cake was moist and delicious and it was a very decadent breakfast. And a super tasty treat later on in the day, too.

Oh, and I am totally bookmarking this pumpkin caramel layer cake to make this fall.

Melissa, thanks so much for having such an awesome, yummy and inspiring blog! I know I will be visiting very often!

Big Crumb Coffee Cake
(only slightly adapted from Smells Like Brownies)

Crumb Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups cake flour

Cake Ingredients:
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream (I used plain, Greek style coconut milk yogurt)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoons butter, softened, cut into cubes

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease an 8″ square baking dish.

To prepare the crumb mixture, whisk together the sugars and spices in a large bowl.
Whisk in melted butter until the mixture is smooth.
Add flour and stir carefully, pressing together with a spatula. It will be a wet, sticky dough, but it will dry and stiffen quickly. Leave it pressed together in the bottom of the bowl and set aside.

To prepare the cake batter, stir together sour cream (or yogurt), egg, egg yolk and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder.
Add softened butter and one spoonful of the sour cream (yogurt) mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened.
Increase speed and beat the mixture for 30 seconds.
Add half of the remaining sour cream mixture and beat for 20 seconds, then repeat.
Scrape the sides of bowl and make sure everything is combined.
Spoon batter into the prepared dish.
Crumble the crumb mixture over the cake in big, ½″ crumbs. They do not have to be uniform - having some smaller crumbles will make the cake easier to cut when it’s baked.
Bake for 40–50 minutes, or until cake passes a toothpick test (mine took 43 minutes). Cool completely before serving.

Enjoy with coffee!


  1. I love crumb cake, especially the crumb part, so I'm thrilled that your cake has a lot of the best part on it. Yummy!

  2. Wow, that sounds so wonderful. I've been wanting to try a crumb cake for awhile...this looks like the perfect recipe. Great SRC choice!

  3. I love the step by step pictorial. A coffee cake is something that everyone enjoy. I'll keep this recipe for future.

  4. Looks delicious! Your blog is beautiful! (Also, that is the exact same way I often choose new recipes, haha!)

  5. Oh that looks great! I just bought a box of cake flour for my donut recipe and this cake would be perfect to make. I love the big crumbs!

  6. Crumb topping is the very best part of a coffee cake, and this one looks SO tempting. Cut me a piece, please.

  7. I haven't made coffee cake in ages! This looks delicious.

  8. Love, love, love crumb coffee cake. Only problem, I eat too many pieces :)

  9. I am such a sucker for breakfast baked goods This looks so wonderful and I am hungry right now great SRc recipe

  10. Hi Shelley,
    I just love a good coffee cake and this one looks delicious. This is a great recipe choice for the SRC.
    Have a fun week!
    Miz Helen

  11. I've never made coffee cake before but I just love it. Can't wait to test this out!

  12. Yum! You can never go wrong with crumb coffee cake. :)

  13. HUGE thanks for the useful tip on creating cake flour from AP (how did I not know this factoid?), and a smiling thank you from my husband who ate most of the coffee cake.

  14. I'm pretty sure I need to bookmark this recipe! Crumb cake with plenty of crumb is great. :)

  15. I'm sure my husband would love this. He loves coffee cake. It looks delicious!


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